How to Tell if You're Struggling

stress | acute vs chronic stress | coping with changes | therapy | strategies | sign and symptoms

Sometimes it can be difficult to know when you're struggling especially if the issues you've been dealing with is ongoing but isn't an obvious stressor in your life. There are many different types of stress people deal with and the duration and intensity of the stress can impact your mental health.

There are different types of stress and it is important to manage and identify the stress correctly. Knowing what kind of stress you're dealing with can help you.

Not all stress is bad and sometimes it can even be beneficial for the person experiencing the stress when it is managed correctly.

Acute stress

Acute stress is stress that lasts only for a short period of time. This includes situations such as starting a new job, secondments, starting a new role, increased responsibilities, or being faced with change, uncertainty or a pressing deadline at work.

The body typically bounces back well from acute stress if the stress experienced is managed properly. Acute stress in the form of mild challenge can even be beneficial as it provides the brain and body for a chance to practise building resilience.

However, if the stress experienced is severe or presents a life-threatening situation it can lead to significant mental health problems in the future.

Chronic stress

Chronic stress is stress that continues for a long period of time. It can occur in circumstances such as ongoing financial problems, relationship difficulties, chronic health problems, caring for someone with complex needs, being away from partner from extended period of time or living in an unsafe environment such as a war zone or where there is violence in the home.

Signs and Symptoms

Everyone reacts differently to stress, some may withdraw from their loved ones, others turn to substances or other addictive behaviours (gambling, shopping,drinking) or experience change in activity levels. You might not only notice changes in behaviour, but you may notice changes in your emotional, psychological or physical state.


  • Change in activity levels

  • Difficulty communicating

  • Irritability, outbursts of anger, frequent arguments

  • Inability to rest, relax, or let down

  • Change in eating habits

  • Change in sleep patterns

  • Change in job performance

  • Periods of crying